One killed, 62 arrested in Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal riots

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  • Police have arrested 62 people in connection with riots in Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal.
  • Officers were shot at and wounded in Johannesburg.
  • Police have warned the public to refrain from circulating messages and social media posts that incite violence.

One person was killed and at least 62 people arrested in riots that ripped through KwaZulu-Natal and Johannesburg, in which shops were looted, roads blocked and property destroyed.

Police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said an investigation was under way after a 40-year old man was killed in Alexandra. Further information on the fatality was not available.

Muridili added that metro police departments and members of the South African Police Service were on high alert.

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"SAPS officers, working closely with metro police last night responded to sporadic incidents of looting of businesses and barricading of roads and arrested 25 suspects in Jeppe and Alexandra," Muridili said in a statement.

"In the Jeppe policing precinct, police dispersed a group of about 300 people who had barricaded the M2 freeway. It is alleged that one group then headed to Jeppestown where they looted a number of businesses. Seven suspects were arrested, four of whom were found inside one of the stores, while three were arrested for public violence and for being in possession of suspected stolen property."

She said police officers were shot at and injured in the chaos.

In Alexandra, police arrested 18 people, 16 of them for alleged public violence. They were also linked to the shooting of a police officer who was taken to hospital for treatment. Two other police officers sustained minor injuries.

"The other two suspects were arrested for possession of suspected stolen property and malicious damage to property. This came as police responded to information [about] a group of people from Alexandra who targeted and forced entry into businesses, and started looting," Muridili said.

"This group of about 800 people is reported to have attacked police, resulting in the shooting of police officers who have now received medical attention, with only one in hospital in a stable condition."

ALSO READ | Security guard killed in Johannesburg riots

Muridili warned that criminal charges could be laid against people who circulated messages and social media posts that encouraged the violence.

"A warning is issued to those circulating inflammatory messages, inciting violence and lawlessness, that they refrain from doing so. The possibility of criminal charges being instituted against such persons cannot be ruled out, particularly in the event of injury or death that may come as a result of any operational response by the security forces to these incidents of violence and opportunistic criminality."

In KwaZulu-Natal, 37 people were arrested for the violence that erupted in that province on Thursday.

Riots continued on Sunday in some parts of the province, and included the looting of shops and barricading of roads.

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